It is Christmas day and we are on our way to Kentucky to see
my in-laws. This holiday is surreal for me. I found out 2 days ago that you
were killed in a car crash. You were on your way home to your parents. It was
your birthday. Your turned 42. Your step father told me that you were 5 miles
away from home and an oncoming car went over the grass median and hit you. He
said you passed instantly from internal injuries.
Jody said she was on your FB page to wish you a happy
birthday. She scrolled through until she saw posts about you no longer being
with us. I trust Jody. There was no way she could have been lying but I did not
believe her. I called your phone. When your step dad picked up, I called out
your name in relief but it wasn’t you. I told him I called to make sure
something I had heard about you wasn’t true but it was true. Your step dad told
me as gently as possible. He told me they had no way of reaching your employer
and asked for help.
I had to think about how I…
I finished The Land of Open Graves: Living and
Dying on the Migrant Trail.
It was a gift from my friend Carolina,
creator of My (un)Documented Life blog. It was written by Jason De Leόn, an
anthropologist of Mexican descent, who spent 5 years in the field, in his journey
to complete this project. At its heart,
his work depicts the violence faced by border crossers “as they attempt to
enter the US without authorization by walking across the vast Sonoran desert of
Arizona”. Its focus is on the Prevention through Deterrence (PTD) policy
enacted in 1993.
explained that when the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was passed
in 1994, the U.S. promised economic prosperity for Mexico if it would open up
its ports of entry for inexpensive goods. Shortly thereafter, Mexico was
abundant with U.S. subsidized corn that put millions of Mexican farmers out of
me some background on NAFTA. Its purpose was to expand
the flow of goods between Canada, US and Mexic…
Dr. Ledesma’s graphic novel was an easy read yet cut to the core of my pre American life. It was also timely. I recently removed “the undocumented
American experience” from the title of my blog. The reason is that my work, running, family and writing selves were starting to merge in
the online space. I changed the title so that this part of my life would be slightly obscured. After all these years, I am still
This book is a reminder that our stories about having lived
an undocumented life need to be told.
I identified with the author’s undocumented beginnings,
being told that they were going on vacation and never leaving.
family legalized in 1986 with the passing of the Immigration
Reform and Control Act. He then went on to get his undergraduate and
graduate degrees. He worked with an organization within UC Berkeley that
assisted immigrant students. The author wrote that not every student was ready
to come out publicly. He recognized the pressure to confess wh…